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"English poet-painter William Blake, a reclusive and visionary artist, produced and published his own books with engraved texts and hand-colored illustrations.
Themes of obscure religious and mythical stories and man’s quest for the divine permeate all of Blake’s writings and paintings while elements of Michalangelo and the Mannerist school and pre-Rennaissance book illuminations are evident in the content of his work.
Blake had no use for the visible world around us, relying on his own “inner vision” and inspiration, denying reason as being ultimately destructive to this own 'inner vision'."
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Another world traveler, Joseph Conrad recorded his travel experiences through art. In contrast to his exploration of humanity’s dark side in books like Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, Conrad’s pen-and-ink work displays a light, refined line.
"My little watercolours are kinds of poems or dreams, which provide but a distant memory of "reality," and change it according to personal feelings or needs (…); the fact that I am (…) a mere amateur is something I never forget." From a letter to Helene Welti, 1919
"For me, producing with drawing pen and brush is the wine whose inebriating effect makes life warm and pleasant to an extent that it becomes bearable." From a letter to Franz Karl Ginzkey, 1920
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"e.e. cummings (1953-1962) devoted tremendous time to his painting and to theorizing art, writing extensively on form and color theories and the “intelligence” of painting. He worked in two styles — popular caricatures for The Dial journal and representational oils."
"Kurt Vonnegut’s (1922-2007) rough felt tip pen illustrations have always perfectly fit his novels, emerging seamlessly out of the satirical prose, delightful and raw and sad and disgusting and touching and always contextually appropriate."
"Sylvia Plath’s (1932-1963) paintings and drawings made as an art student at Smith College in Massachusetts are decidedly un-Bell Jar, vibrant and almost joyous. Yet, there’s a certain common thread in her descriptive literary style and the self-reflexive complexity and its structured chaos. All of these were made before she turned 20 and decided to concentrate on her writing."
"Henry Miller (1891-1980) had painted for sixty years, was internationally exhibited, and created an estimated 2,000 watercolors during his lifetime."
"Reluctant godfather of punk, transgressive Beat generation champ and NYC stalwart, William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) always extended his literary practice into avant-garde territories — the cut-up novels and films, the dreammachine, the prose itself. He spent his later years in Kansas, in his backyard, shooting the shit out of spray paint cans with his shot gun onto blank canvases. The bursting, holed pieces were displayed in Chicago and New York in the late ’80s and early ’90s."
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